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Cel-shaded animation

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Cel-shaded animation or cel-shading is the art of turning computer graphics into cartoon and comic book style art and attempting to mimic a more stylistic cartoon style, such as charcoal, watercolors or etching. Cel-shading is a sharp contrast to photorealistic graphics. It is a relatively recent addition to computer graphics, most commonly turning up in console video games. Though the end result of cel shading has a very simple and retro feel, reminiscent of older hand drawn animation, the process is complex.


The cel-shading process starts with typical 3D modelling under the hood. The difference occurs when a cel-shaded object is drawn onscreen. The rendering engine only selects a few shades of each color for the object, producing a flat look. This is not the same as using only a few shades of texture for an object, as lighting and other environmental factors would come into play and ruin the effect. Therefore, cel-shading is often implemented as an additional rendering pass after all other rendering operations are completed.


Cel-shaded art has appeared in the following places: